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Christian Living

Family

One Marriage, Two Affairs

Shannon Woodland - 700 Club Producer
Danielle Thompson - 700 Club Producer

Ferndale, WA

“I knew that our marriage was bad,” says Tiffany.

“Whenever Tiffany would bring up that our marriage is not right, it’s horrible!” says Rick.

“He would say, ‘You’re just overreacting,’” says Tiffany.

“I just chalked it up to her being dramatic,” says Rick.

For 17 years, Tiffany Bulman had pleaded with her ambitious husband, Rick, to help around the house, spend time with the kids, and with her. Nothing changed, and the couple fought all the time.

“I felt completely unimportant, like he had a list of priorities and I was at the absolute bottom,” says Tiffany.

Rick says that’s because he had a mistress—his work. Whether it was managing a sales team or serving as a part-time youth pastor, he spent long hours away from home.

“I hate to say it, but I love my kids and I love my wife, but I loved my work more,” says Rick. “There was a level of fulfillment and adoration I received from the success of my job.”

“I hated his computer, and I hated his cellphone,” says Tiffany. “If the phone rang or a text went off, it didn’t matter if we were talking, he just stopped and picked up his phone.”

In 2009, Rick reached his lifetime goal, when he became a senior pastor at a church in Bellingham, Washington. That took even more of Rick’s time from his family.

“Being a pastor is 24/7,” says Rick. “I mean, you have to allow room for that and time for that, and so I would justify it.”

“I just gave up. I thought that it was always going to be terrible, that I was always going to be lonely, that I was always going to do everything,” says Tiffany.

Meanwhile a friend of theirs, a married man, stepped in to fill the gap.

“He would take the boys out and pay catch with them in the yard. He would take them out for ice cream. He would mow the law,” says Tiffany. “So, the fact that he was doing all that stuff, I just felt like - he cares about me.”

Before Tiffany knew it, they were having an affair.

“I knew it was wrong, but I was so unhappy,” says Tiffany.

Because he lived two hours away, they only saw each other on occasion. Still, they talked and texted often. The affair tormented Tiffany. Making it worse, she was a worship leader at church.

“I was living such a double life that at night, I would have a glass of wine,” says Tiffany. “One glass turned into two glasses and turned into three glasses. And I was completely numbing out in the evening. I was in such disbelief at what I was doing and yet I didn’t stop,” says Tiffany.

The on again-off again affair lasted three years until, finally, overwhelmed by guilt, Tiffany texted the man that it was over. Soon after, Rick got a phone call. It was the man’s wife—and Tiffany’s best friend—who had seen Tiffany’s text.

“That was when my world just shattered,” says Rick. “I had never felt such betrayal. I just looked at her and I was like, 'What were you thinking?' But I remember she just looked at me and said, ‘Well, now, maybe you’ll pay attention to me more.’”

That night, Rick left to stay at a friend’s house. Neither he nor Tiffany could see a way out.

“I said, ‘This is so big, I don’t even think God can fix this,’” says Rick.

“I didn’t think that Rick would forgive me. I didn’t-everything was just-my head was just spinning. 'What are we going to do? Is he going to leave me, is he going to take the kids?'” says Tiffany. “'If you can fix this, please, please help us, forgive me.' And that’s all I could say that night,” says Tiffany.

Praying into the night, Rick realized the part he had played in their broken marriage.

“I betrayed my wife, but in a different way. My affair was with my work,” says Rick.

He says God also told him He could fix their marriage, on one condition.

“The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, ‘I can when you have willing hearts,’” says Rick.

Later the next day, Rick went home. 

“And he told me he loved me, and he told me he forgave me,” says Tiffany. “I couldn’t comprehend why he could forgive me and why he would still love me.”

While it took a lot of time, counseling, and tears for the couple to work out their differences, it was forgiveness through God’s love that ultimately healed their hearts and marriage.

“When the Lord said, ‘You provide the heart, I’ll provide the miracle,’ He wasn’t just talking about the restoration of my marriage,” says Rick. “He was also talking about the renewing of my mind, the renewing of my heart.”

“Our encouragement to everybody is there is hope. There is absolute hope, especially when you have two people with willing hearts to say, ‘Lord, make this happen. I’ll do whatever,’” says Rick.

“I know how present and how miraculous and what a good God He is that He would come in and that He would save my family, that He would save my marriage,” says Tiffany. 

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